"Could there be a more challenging subject to pen a bio about than Fritz Lang?"
Fritz Lang – director of M, Metropolis, Fury, The Big Heat – his very name is a sort of talisman for cineastes the world over. The name conjures the best of German expressionism and the name forms a vital link in the mind of the bridge between the most exemplary of those expressionist films and the form known as film noir that was to follow. Few film directors are expansive enough to contain that kind of multitude, yet Fritz Lang is. And yet… Lang was cagey and spent a lifetime insisting that his personal life had nothing to do with the work. Film biographer Patrick McGilligan begs to differ and in his Lang biography Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast lays out the ways in which the man’s life affected his art.
Could there be a more challenging subject to pen a bio about than Fritz Lang? Ever the story teller, Lang wove a patchwork of myths and tales about his life, constructed with an eye for the entertaining or suspenseful yarn rather than the truth, per se. McGilligan sets himself the monumental task of teasing out the actual from the mythic and then the even more monumental task of interpreting those actuals back into the myth of the work. The mind reels! But McGilligan is a cracker-jack researcher and the supporting evidence is thorough in Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast - when it exists. He’s also candid about when it doesn’t.